Fianacial Fraud

 Financial matters are complicated to begin with. Imagine having to manage money if you or your loved one is cognitively impaired or has memory problems causing poor judgment. Seniors as a group are a prime target for scammers – by phone, mail and visits to where they live. It is unethical, immoral, mean spirited and a fact of life in the U.S. If your mother or father (or both) have Alzheimer’s disease or any other type of Dementia, arrange to be, or have another trusted person become their Durable Power of Attorney so you can better protect their assets and financial future.

Unfortunately older adults who live alone are easy prey for a scammer. The senior may welcome phone calls or visits. Some thieves actually may attend an Alzheimer’s support group or other places which attract elders, to scout out their next targets.

Tips to Protect from Financial Fraud:

  1. Be aware of new people in your loved one’s life – new “friends” or “household workers”.
  2. Monitor your parent’s financial bank statements – for large or steady withdrawals or checks, financial or broker accounts and credit card statements. It is recommended to limit the number of credit cards your mother or father have and to lower their credit limit.
  3. Let their bank manager, broker, financial planner, credit card companies know that you are Power of Attorney and to be notified of any suspicious activity.
  4. Take steps to limit junk mail and sales/promotional calls. Speak to their local Post Office manager and the phone company.
  5. Monitor their bills, from store credit cards to the electric company. Late fees are costly and an indication that your loved one may not be able to manage their bill paying any longer.
  6. Is your parent having work done on their car or home that they don’t need? Is someone talking them into a “great deal”?
  7. Is your loved one making withdrawals and keeping excessive cash at home?

Older Americans who live alone are the biggest targets for fraud and financial scams. Common ones are: Home Repairs, Magazine subscriptions, mail order “specials”, uncollected “debt” Be wary of new people in your parent’s lives. These recommendations are meant for everyone but are especially pertinent to older folks who are on their own and vulnerable due to dementia impairing their judgment.

Try this experiment: Call from a phone other than your own and see if you can scam your loved one. See if they will give you their Social Security number and other important financial information. You can pretend you are from the bank, a Credit Card company or something to do with their home.  Is your Mother of Father financially vulnerable to scammers?